Caroline Wilson has been banned from a Melbourne Grand Final week function.
Caroline Wilson has been banned from a Melbourne Grand Final week function.

‘Paranoid’ AFL club’s bizarre ban

MELBOURNE Football Club and Caroline Wilson are at war after the Demons uninvited the leading journalist from a function she was due to attend on Thursday.

Wilson, who works for 3AW and Fairfax Media, told Sportsday radio on Tuesday night she was sensationally informed she was not welcome at the club's annual media breakfast, which is held in Grand Final week every year in the MCC committee room.

According to Wilson, she received a call from Melbourne's media department this week to notify her of the news. The award-winning journalist was told president Glen Bartlett did not want her there following an article she wrote in The Age on Saturday.

Speaking on Tuesday night radio, Wilson said Bartlett was "paranoid".

"I've done it for 20 years. In fact this would have been my 20th year," Wilson said on Sportsday.

"I got a call (on Monday) from Ryan Larkin, Melbourne's media boss, telling me that I'd been banned by the chairman even though I had spoken to Glen Bartlett last week or the week before and said: 'I know you weren't happy with some of my reporting on the Gary Pert appointment.'

"He said 'I'm bigger than that, no big deal.'

"I wrote a piece about the rebuilding of the Melbourne Football Club on Saturday, which I felt was a very balanced and largely positive article about the performance of people like Glen Bartlett and Peter Jackson. There definitely is tension between the two but don't think that was the problem.

"I think it was the fact I mentioned the Pert appointment again and used the word 'dilligence' very low down in the story.

"I think Glen's being paranoid - I can't understand it. In all these years, I don't think I've been banned from any club function.

"Even Essendon kept asking me to their women's lunch during the drugs scandal … It's not the end of my world. Anyway, I won't be there.

"It's certainly been put to me by others at the club that they don't share the views of Glen Bartlett."

Chairman of the Demons Glen Bartlett spoke to Caroline Wilson last week.
Chairman of the Demons Glen Bartlett spoke to Caroline Wilson last week.

In her article, Wilson said there had been "occasional tension" between Bartlett and outgoing chief executive Peter Jackson and declared the CEO was "shut out of the process" to find his replacement, which was ultimately Gary Pert.

"That surprise appointment and the perceived lack of wide consultation which led to Pert's recruitment was noted and Bartlett was not happy with some of the responses, including an article by this columnist," she wrote.

"But ultimately both chairman and chief executive have delivered and worked successfully together despite the occasional frustration. Ego clashes, credit-claiming and football clubs come hand-in-hand after all.

"The sensitive handling of both men, not to mention the balancing act with Jackson handing over the reins to Pert almost as soon as the Demons' season has finished, is a credit to the other senior people at Melbourne who have been empowered by Jackson's stewardship."


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